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Very Expensive Balloon Ride Promises Quite a View

Company plans $125K rides into the stratosphere
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2020 2:49 PM CDT

(Newser) – Still pricey, but this might be the cheapest option for space tourists yet. The company Space Perspective plans to fly people up to the Earth's stratosphere in a giant balloon with a pressurized cabin, reports Space.com. The cost? $125,000 a seat. The trip would take about six hours—a leisurely ascent up at about 12 miles an hour, followed by two hours spent in the stratosphere, and then the trip home. The balloon would end up about 19 miles above the surface of the Earth, which, as Smithsonian points out, is "not technically outer space, but high enough to see the curvature of the Earth and the darkness of space stretching out beyond."

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The company has more details about the proposed flights here. The first test flights are supposed to take off next year, but no passengers will likely go up for at least three years, reports CBS News. These might appeal to people for whom a rocket flight seems a little too extreme. “It’s so gentle,” Jane Poynter of Space Perspective tells the New York Times. “It’s much less dynamic than a rocket-based flight. I know that there’s a lot of people that either cannot or don’t want to go on a rocket, but they really want to go to space.” Bonus: It's roughly half the price Virgin Galactic plans to charge for a seat on one of its ships. (Read more stratosphere stories.)

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